War hero and U.S. Senator John McCain passed away Saturday at the age of 81.

The news was met with sadness as many people spoke out.

 

John McCain was much more than a politician. He devoted every day of his life, until the end, to the United States.

Military Career

McCain, from birth, seemed destined to serve in the military. His father and grandfather were both admirals in the United States Navy. The man himself grew up on military bases in America and abroad.

Following in his father’s footsteps and devoting himself to his country,  McCain enrolled in the United States Naval Academy. From there he want on to fight in Vietnam, where he was a Naval Aviator who flew with the VA-65 squadron. After his plane was hit by a missile, he was captured and held hostage for over half a decade.

McCain was routinely tortured and kept in solitary confinement. He wrote:

“My room was fairly decent-sized – I’d say about 10 by 10. The door was solid. There were no windows. The only ventilation came from two small holes at the top in the ceiling, about 6 inches by 4 inches. The roof was tin, and it got hot as hell in there.”

Since he came from a powerful family, McCain’s captors offered him early release. He repeatedly refused because his fellow prisoners would not be released with him.

After he was released in 1973, he said:

“A number of times they were strong in their tactics trying to get me to possibly embarrass my father and our country.”

The torture he suffered caused life long damage. He could not lift either arm above his shoulders.

Serving His Country As A Politician

McCain’s political career began three years after he was released from captivity, when he served as the Navy’s liaison to the Senate. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1982, and beat out Barry Goldwater in 1986 to become a Senator. Years later, he ran twice for president, but lost both times.

McCain’s passion for our military continued while he was serving in the Senate. He joined the Armed Service Committee, where he eventually became chairman in 2015. His tenure with the committee included passing multiple pieces of legislation that were beneficial for military members and their families.

His Senate career was eventful, as he was an outspoken and fierce leader. He held numerous other positions, such as chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee and Senate Commerce Committee. McCain was also entangled in controversies, including the Keating Five Scandal and voting “no” on Republicans’ attempt to repeal Obamacare.

John McCain lived an eventful life. He sums it up best in his memoir:

“It’s been quite a ride. I’ve known great passions, seen amazing wonders, fought in a war, and helped make peace.”

Fewer men have more faithfully served their country.